You know how putting a plant in sunlight makes it grow faster? Spending a lot of time in the sun does the same thing to your face, making the skin age faster.
Sun’s UV rays penetrate your skin, causing premature wrinkling and putting you at an increased risk of skin cancer. These rays cause a tiny electron reaction in your cells, making them unstable, injured and incomplete. What your skin has just experienced is free radical damage, and the more it happens, the quicker you age. This process is called photoaging.
The following tips may help slow down the onset of age spots and wrinkles caused by sun exposure.
1. Eat Foods Rich In Antioxidants
Eating fruits and veggies rich in antioxidants can help fight off free radicals, the molecules that destroy body tissue and cause wrinkling, sagging and age spots. To get antioxidants, eat foods rich in vitamin C, as it helps the body form collagen, the gluey fibers that keep the skin taut. Alternatively, you can also topically apply vitamin C formulations directly to your skin and protect it from the damage caused by free radicals. Some good sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits like oranges, grapes, and lemons.1 You can also opt for antioxidant supplements as they can provide a face-lift effect.2
2. Choose A Broad Spectrum Sunscreen
To reduce signs of premature aging, protect your skin from the sun. At least 30 minutes before you go outdoors, apply sunscreen or a moisturizing product with a broad spectrum and built-in sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. Sunscreens are efficient in preventing sunburn, actinic damage, and even skin cancers.3
The intensity of UVB radiation is maximum between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM. Accordingly, the need for a sunscreen is correspondingly high during this time. It’s also important that you use a sunscreen even when the weather outside isn’t too harsh, as UV radiation can also be reflected by painted surfaces, white sand, and snow. Sunscreens should also be re-applied after swimming and profuse sweating, as UV radiation can penetrate several centimetres into clear water.
3. Stay Indoors
Just by staying clear of UV rays between 10 AM and 4 PM, you can reduce your exposure by half. If you must be outside at these times, try to stay in the shade as much as possible. Also, get to know what’s the sun exposure in the place you live. For instance, if you stay near the equator, the sun can be very strong even at nine o’ clock in the morning. Hence, adjust your timings accordingly and avoid the harsh sunlight.4
The ideal time to garden, take a walk, play football or do other outdoor activities is just after sunrise or just before sunset.
4. Stay Covered
If you plan to go out when the sun is high, cover up. Wear a wide-brimmed hat or visor to shield yourself from the sun’s rays. Protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses. Put on a long-sleeved shirt and trousers to filter out harmful rays. Shorts and sleeveless tops are more comfortable to wear in hot weather but be certain to rub sunblock on any and all bare skin to stay safe. In warm weather, wear clothes made of lightweight, loosely woven fabrics such as cotton.
Wet clothes can act as a conduit for solar radiation; this is the reason why you get tanned or sunburned a lot on the beaches. If you’re stepping out of a shower or a pool, pat yourself dry and apply sunscreen on exposed areas to prevent a sunburn.
Sunlight is an abundant source of vitamin D, but continued exposure to the sun causes premature aging and increases your risk of skin cancer. So, apply lots of sunscreen and don’t venture out too much into the sun, especially at noon.
|↑1||Miyachi, Yoshiki. “Photoaging from an oxidative standpoint.” Journal of dermatological science 9, no. 2 (1995): 79-86.|
|↑2||Ndiaye, Mary, Carol Philippe, Hasan Mukhtar, and Nihal Ahmad. “The grape antioxidant resveratrol for skin disorders: promise, prospects, and challenges.” Archives of biochemistry and biophysics 508, no. 2 (2011): 164-170.|
|↑3||Naylor, Mark F., and Kevin C. Farmer. “The case for sunscreens: a review of their use in preventing actinic damage and neoplasia.” Archives of dermatology 133, no. 9 (1997): 1146-1154.|
|↑4||What Is Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation? American Cancer Society.|